Thursday, August 14, 2014

Does JEALOUSY find Philippe Garrel in a more thoughtful, maybe even positive mood?

In addition to JEALOUSY,  the new movie from Philippe Garrel opening this week, TrustMovies has seen only four other of this famous Frenchman's films: his segment of Paris par vu...Night Wind, Regular Lovers and The Frontier of Dawn (possibly one of the silliest titles in movie history). M Garrel is on record in the July/August 2014 issue of Film Comment as noting that the title of his latest film is not illustrative. Thank you. That helps, because, really, it seems that no one in Jealousy is in the least jealous of anyone else. This is, in fact, one of the oddly enjoyable things about the movie: How its characters move through life with an almost amazing lack of rancour, despite break-ups and other major problems concerning life, love and work.

If the movie seems beautifully alive yet oddly distant, this may be because its maker (pictured left), a 66-year-old man, is tackling relatively young people today but from an aged perspective that seems, by turns, thoughtful, quiet and simply removed from the agitation that is "youth." As both lead actors -- the filmmaker's son Louis Garrel and Anna Mouglalis -- shown on poster above and in the photos below -- are in their 30s, the "agitation that is middle age" might be more appropriate. Whatever. The bottom line is that Jealousy offers a kind of split perspective, as events occur that ought to cause conster-nation and yet the characters take them with the kind of philosophical stride reserved for the wisdom of age.

This allows us to identify with both generations, to see what is going on but not grow particularly alarmed by it all. Events here include everything from a husband and father leaving his family to his paramour betraying both him and his philosophy about the "purity" of the acting profession (which probably mirrors to a great extent the philosophy of the elder Garrel). That ever-present fight of family vs freedom is front and center once again.

Garrel père films in bits and pieces (and in lustrous black-and-white, with cinemtography by the great Willy Kurant), all of them leading from that initial scene in which Garrel fils moves out and begins his new life, while trying to still include his daughter (played by the adorable and extremely winning Olga Milshtein, shown above and below). Finally, these pieces produce a kind of mosaic of conventions, attitudes and culture. Jealousy is certainly not a great film (none of Garrel's are), but it is an interesting one, made by a filmmaker, the work of whom buffs will probably want to know. His new film is as good a place to start as any.

From Distrib Films and running a bare 77 minutes, Jealousy opens this Friday, August 15, here in New York City at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, and the following Friday, August 22, in the Los Angeles area at three Laemmle theaters: the Royal, Playhouse 7 and Town Center 5. In the weeks and months to come, it will play venues around the country. Click here and scroll down to see all currently scheduled playdates, with cities and theaters.

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